There are formal and informal techniques for relaxation that can help with sleep, with reducing obsession, and with serenity in general. These are especially valuable for most addicts, who have a history of seeking substances or addictive activities to relax.


Hypnosis, also known as trance states, is a technique to help you focus on a specific idea or thing to the exclusion of other stimuli. It is not nearly the mysterious, dramatic event popularized in stage shows and TV dramas. Many relaxation techniques induce a trance state, where there is a change in brain wave patterns. You have probably experienced hypnotic trance states when you were driving down a road, forgot to make a turn, and then realized ou had been “out of it” for several minutes. Though not recommended in driving, trance states can help you learn to relax. Professionals can help you learn these techniques, which you can then do by yourself.

The Relaxation Response

In The Relaxation Response (1975), the relaxation and stress management classic, Herbert Benson, MD, describes the body’s response to stress and an intervention technique. By mentally focusing or concentrating on one word or image, the rest of your body goes into a deep state of relaxation.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Another technique that can be taught by professionals and learned fairly easily is progressive muscle relaxation. Here you go through a sequence of tensing and releasing muscle groups all over your body, leaving you quite relaxed. As you learn the technique you can eventually skip the tensing step and go through it very rapidly, in less than a minute.

Relaxation or other Classes

If you want something a bit more involved, look for classes in your area that relate to meditation or physical activity. You may find something that is very relaxing to you, and may be educational as well.

Simple Aids to Relaxation

There are also some very easy, everyday things you can do to increase your relaxation and reduce the effects of stress:

Deep Breath One of the simplest aids to relaxation is simply taking a deep breath. It is something you can do, without special training, at work, in the middle of a job interview, during a crisis, or anytime.

Breaks Most employers have to allow breaks during the day. For your sanity, peace of mind, and recovery, you should take them — whether on the job or at home. You will find you can get more done after a short break than working straight through.

Meditations There are books filled with short meditations to give your mind a thoughtful, philosophical, psychological, or spiritual message to mull over. Thinking about these messages several times throughout the day can have an effect like a break, getting you out of the rut of your daily routine.

Relaxation audio or video You can buy all sorts of audio or video aids for relaxation, from nature sounds to relaxing music, with or without a voice to guide you in a hypnotic fashion.

There is no evidence, by the way, that subliminal messages in those recordings do anything but line their producers’ pockets. They may, of course, work if you believe they will.

Music You may be able to listen to music while you work, and if it is conducive to relaxation, without making you sleepy, it may help calm you. And if you are trying to relax to go to sleep, the right kind of music may help.

Mind blanking If you have some practice at meditation techniques, you may be able to just let your mind go blank for a few seconds, blocking out the tension and chaos of the moment.

A Higher Power Whatever you use, allow the thoughts of your Higher Power, or the Program, or nature, or a combination of calming influences to help you through the day and the night.

Relaxation, see also: Acceptance, Chronic pain, Counseling, Crisis, Delusion, Dichotomous thinking, Drugs, Exercise & activity, Family, Habit & structure, Higher Power, Humor & fun, Moderation, Moodifiers, Obsession, Prayer & meditation, Premenstrual syndrome, Priorities, Program, Relapse & prevention, Sabotage of recovery, Sanity, Satiety, Serenity, Sleep, Slogans, Stress & strain, Tranquilizers.

Updated 12 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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